Tatiana Kovalchuk has worked for Fujitsu Global IT Services since the start of her career. She accepted her first entry-level position in 2007 while studying in her university’s Faculty of Computer Science. From that point, Tatiana honed her skills by taking on technical as well as people- and process-centered roles.
“My job was always connected and related to end user services. This eventually brought me to the leadership role for areas like end user analytics, digital experience management, proactive and preventative remediation automation, and that brings me to my current title, which is both automation and analytics,” says Tatiana.
As the Global Head of Automation & Analytics at Fujitsu, Tatiana is responsible for the adoption of automation and AI-based solutions within Fujitsu’s delivery teams. “Our platform includes Amelia technologies at the heart of the solution, and this year we’re enrolling this automation platform for our own IT support,” she explains.
It is no surprise that Tatiana pursued a STEM career, as her interest in mathematics began at a young age. “My teachers noticed that I had an analytical mindset and that’s why they always supported me,” Tatiana recalls. “My parents inspired me a lot as well. My mother was a senior lecturer of mathematics in university and my dad was an engineer, so STEM was around me all the time.”
One of the reasons Tatiana enjoys working in the AI field is because of the constant opportunities to learn something different and innovative about the technology. “My job can sometimes be very challenging, or I feel exhausted because there’s so many things to be done, but it’s never boring. I learn new things every day – I recently passed the Amelia AIOps training with much more to go,” she says. “It’s like the quote from Alice in Wonderland: ‘You must run fast if you want to just stay in the same place, and you should run twice as much as that if you wish to go somewhere.’ I find this very relevant for IT.”
While Tatiana has always had a curiosity for STEM, she pinpoints a key moment in her life that pushed her to pursue a career in the field. In her last year of university, she and her friends wanted to apply for the entry-level position at Fujitsu. “The guys, however, who typically behaved a bit arrogantly, they teased us and said, ‘Girls, you shouldn’t even try to apply, because IT really is a field where they prefer male professionals,’” she recalls. “Of course, this only made me want to apply more, and prove to myself and everyone that girls can do anything... Funny enough many of the females from that same group growing up now hold leadership positions in Fujitsu and other IT companies.”
Like many people, she is no stranger to imposter syndrome, yet Tatiana feels fortunate to have had teachers and a manager who supported her, even when she doubted herself. “My boss would reassure and support me by simply saying, ‘Tatiana, you can do it, no worries, you are the best one for the job’ — it really helped.”
To address the persistent gender gap in STEM, Tatiana believes people need to stop perpetuating the stereotype that STEM is only for boys. “In terms of AI in particular, I would say we should start introducing AI awareness courses or trainings to be taught in schools, at least, as an optional subject,” she suggests. “This way if you want to know more about AI you have the opportunity to get this information and be taught by professionals in school or university.”
For women who are currently pursuing careers in STEM, Tatiana advises them to continuously learn, do their homework, always be prepared, and trust their instincts and intuition. She encourages women to stand up for their ideas and argues that “if you think your idea deserves less attention than others’ ideas, [it’s] not true... don’t be shy.”
Tatiana also wants women to make their own choices, and to not be swayed by people who believe they must choose between having a family and pursuing a career. “If you want to have both, you can have both. Children inspire. I say this from my own experience,” she says.
Tatiana’s AI Insights
While there are endless use cases for AI within IT services, Tatiana believes the true merit of AI lies in its human impact. “Technology is just technology until it starts delivering real value to the business or end customers who are non-IT people,” she says. “Our company ambition, and my personal ambition, is to make sure the high-level solutions we are developing and rolling out for our clients can help make our and their world better.”
Tatiana also highlights how AI can improve non-IT services industries, for example by making cars safer and medical care more efficient. Reflecting on a recent family road trip, Tatiana says that AI made driving a more enjoyable experience. “[Intelligent cars] help you to park, drive, even notice when you’re falling asleep... it really is living in the future. I don’t like driving at all, but now I enjoy it with all this [advanced] intelligence,” she remarks.
Of course, Tatiana knows there are still people who fear that AI and robots will replace them in their jobs. She believes people with non-IT backgrounds are more likely to be fearful, as IT professionals work closely with AI and understand its societal benefits. “In my view, the way we do our jobs today will change because of AI, but this technology gives us a lot of opportunities to create more jobs specifically within this field,” she says.
When explaining her job to non-technical friends and family, she begins by presenting a common scenario, such as online banking: “I believe we all have spoken to a robot. If these things are not implemented in the best way, in a proper way, we as end users try to avoid contacting robots by requesting the live agent." In fact, Tatiana’s role is to ensure AI solutions improve people’s lives by truly understanding and resolving their issues in a manner that is efficient and accurate.
Looking toward the future, Tatiana is hopeful that AI will accelerate pharmaceutical developments to cure diseases that are currently viewed as incurable. “We now have a lot of information. We can utilize robotics and models of genetics, target specific drugs, organs, and diseases, and monitor their progression,” she notes. “If we can help more people with AI technology, especially in medical care, that would be wonderful.”